Ms. Peeves

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Those who know me probably think I'm reasonably easy-going. Sure, I'm obsessed with list-making, and running errands in the best possible order, and can get tense under deadline pressure, but I'm not terribly finicky or hard-to-please. That said, something that I try my darndest to keep under wraps is that I'm incredibly peevish. It's not a dirty secret — in fact, I think most folks have a list of pet peeves a mile long, and I'm also not special in that I try to keep mine hidden. I do, however, feel guilty that I have so many pet peeves... and incredibly judgmental whenever I'm confronted with an offender. But today's the day for us all to come clean... what are your top 3 pet peeves? Here are mine:

1. Nail clipping and/or painting in public. The noise, the smell, the biological material flying about. Disgusting.
2. Meanderers. I know I should slow down, smell the roses, all that... But when someone with no obvious impairment wanders about in my path, irritation bubbles up inside me.
3. Cheaters. Specifically, when I drive home from work I take the 9th Street tunnel, which goes under the National Mall and spits you out on the interstate to Virginia. There are three lanes through the tunnel, but only one goes to the interstate. That lane backs up the length of the (LONG!) tunnel, so some CHEATERS zoom up the middle lane then cut into the line at the last minute. It makes me spit with fury and indignation.

Ok, I laid my ugly peevishness out for all to see, now it's your turn, and tune in to hear Amy's!



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Oh, God...Due to my rather meek personality, I assume others would be as considerate as I. My 'offie' [like a roomie but office mate] I have to put up with his bodily noises, burps, belches, and ####....and he eats the most gross food in the office I can reject in a heart beat has caused me to wear headphones [tuned to NPR of course] and/or leave the office constantly: Managers have no sympathy for me....Can't wait to retire either by normal or own means.

Sent by rik | 2:43 PM | 2-21-2008

I read someplace that a person is as large or as small as the things that upset her--I've been careful since to at least not give voice to pet (as in petty) peeves and you know what? If you don't acknowledge those pet peeves, they start to disappear, freeing you up to obsess about the big things!

Sent by Marilyn Jones | 2:47 PM | 2-21-2008

Chewing gum - I do rarely, BUT keep this in mind. . .some folks say it helps you think! check out

Sent by Pat McManus | 2:48 PM | 2-21-2008

My daughter is super senstive to noises and gum chewing drives her crazy. She carries cards saying she has a condition which makes her sensitive to the noise, and offers them a fresh pack for later if they will not chew in front of her. She never gets a nasty response, which she probably would do if she just said, "stop chewing!"

Sent by Diane Elliott | 2:48 PM | 2-21-2008

I hate seeing young teens and twenty somethings smoking. It was probably my generation (the boomers) that started this fad and there is a good possibility that many will give up this dirty habit, but too many won't. I just want to walk up to them and tell them that they don't look cool and they are ruining their health.

(There's nothing worse than a reformed smoker...after 41 years, I've finally quit....hope it's not too late)

Sent by Linda | 2:49 PM | 2-21-2008

I am a manager for an HVAC company,
and have to deal with 17 employees.
My receptionist, at one point decided
that she was going to wear flip-flops
around the office. Yikes!!!! I asked
her twice not to wear them, citing that
because we must walk through a construction area on occasion, it was for her own safety. She continued to wear them, I finally had to tell her if she wore them again I would have to send her. I wasn't purely a safety issue, I just can't stand the noise!

Phoenix AZ

Sent by Barbara | 2:50 PM | 2-21-2008

HELP! What do you do if the annoyance is one of your bosses - that doesn't wash his hands after using the bathroom. Also - inhales/snuffles his food then belches at the lunch table??? Please withhold my name

Sent by withheld | 2:50 PM | 2-21-2008

I heard a loudmouth cell phone user on a commuter train, discussing confidential office matters with a colleague. I was so annoyed I called his company to let them know all I know about their company and how I came to know it.

Sent by Mike Smith | 2:52 PM | 2-21-2008

Whenever I've been in a public bathroom and someone starts talking on a cell phone. I make sure to flush a few extra times just to let the person on the other end of the call know where the caller is......

Sent by Please don't use my name. | 2:52 PM | 2-21-2008

Some of these people that called in should just lighten up and mind their own business. Especially the gentleman from U of Wisconsin. What people do when they take a break is their business. What if his reflecting annoyed me? Would he like me to tell him not to reflect after class? My pet peeve: people who want to tell people how to use their personal time.

Sent by Lionel | 2:52 PM | 2-21-2008

The cell phone in the bathroom is disturbing primarily because the person in the bathroom has not necessarily told the person on the other end of the phone that they are going into a bathroom. I always try to flush repeatedly or leave the water running when someone comes into using a cell phone.

Sent by Matt | 2:52 PM | 2-21-2008

you pet peevers need to get over it and stop trying to control the actions of others.
how dare you tell a stanger to get off the phone.
how dare you tell a coworker to stop chewing gum
the probem is with american short tempers not cell phones and gum chewing

Sent by tobias duncan | 2:52 PM | 2-21-2008

Sometimes I find that I look for things to bug me. My favorite example comes from a family car trip many years ago. My little sister was doing nothing in particular to get under my skin, but I was convinced she was breathing loudly just to irritate me. My parents still joke about the time I tattled on my sister for "breathing."

Sent by Rachel | 2:53 PM | 2-21-2008

My pet peeves are:
1. people that are rude to service employees ( deli counter, fish counter) at the market, etc.. Common courtesy seems to have disappeared from our culture.
2. People on an airplane/airport seating area speaking loudly on their cell phone.

Sent by Marie | 2:53 PM | 2-21-2008

My biggest pet peeve is when people reach in front of me at the grocery store or the bookstore, and don't say excuse me. It is bad enough that people pass in front of me when I'm looking at a shelf or display and don't say excuse me, but I REALLY hate it when someone actually reaches across me to get something and doesn't say excuse me! I was always taught to say, "excuse me," or "beg your pardon."

Sent by Laura | 2:54 PM | 2-21-2008

I would love to here my son (16 yrs old) on his cell phone, however he's always texting all the time. Therefore I have no idea what's going on. I would love to here what he's writing about.

Sent by Yvonne | 2:55 PM | 2-21-2008

cell phone in bathroom
1) a person coul dget beat up or killed for complaining to a person inside a bathroom
Yes, it is very scary.

oprah and gum

1) I am a gum chewer and I can't stand hearing people chew gum.
2) My mopther used to amke sounds when she ate (with her mouth closed). I had to sit next to her at meals for 18 years, and I cannot handle listening to people eat or chew.

3) it is the penultimately rude thing to chew gum when dining or visitng another person in their house.

If people were not so nasty and petty --
many people do these thinsg on purpose to create issues. People go to the boss
first because then the person will start creatin gthe impression to others that you don't get along, then you will be out with th eboss for being incompatible / unsuitable as an employee.

Sent by crisselle | 2:56 PM | 2-21-2008

I work the main switchboard for a county government. One of the worst things is people calling and then you hear a click (they are getting another call) - then they say "Can you hold?" I say no because there are multiple calls waiting. Or they ask for a phone number but don't have paper or pencil.

Sent by anonymous | 2:56 PM | 2-21-2008

Hi. I find joy in making as much :-) "noise" as possible when someone talks on their cell phone in the bathroom. I've heard people talking to their customers in the bathroom! Talking to a friend while in the bathroom is one thing but a customer? Come on people! I consider my flushing and noises as education in those situations. You ARE talking to a human. Explain to them you need a bio-break, they probably have to go too.

Sent by A rose by any other name | 2:57 PM | 2-21-2008

two pet peeves:
1. pedestrians who wait for the walk signal in the street (instead of on the curb). This is part of what causes downtown gridlock.
2. Pedestrians with Ipods turned up so high they cannot hear traffic (some of these folks are standing in the street waiting for their walk signal -- that's a great way to get hit).
3. retail clerks who put change on top of paper bills.

Sent by Jeanne Duncan | 2:57 PM | 2-21-2008

My pet peeve: Meal servers who address my all-female party as "guys," especially when some of the folks are older ladies. I have been known to point out to the waiter/waitress that we are in fact all women; there are no men in our group, hence, guys in not a good way to address us.

Sent by Jackie L. Leonard | 2:57 PM | 2-21-2008

Gum Snapping! I work in real estate. One of my previous colleagues is a terrible gum chewer/snapper. One day he was sitting next to me in a sales meeting and chomping away. I finally asked him if he would please chew his gum with his mouth closed. I know he was offended but this guy is a class act; professional, handsome, great dresser and yet he chews his gum like a cow. To all the gum chewers in the world...if you must chew gum in public please keep your mouth closed! Better yet, follow my dad's rule of thumb...never chew gum in public! Thanks dad for teaching me to be classy!

Sent by Courtney | 2:58 PM | 2-21-2008

When did it become standard driving etiquette to drive right up on someone's back bumper when you want to go around them? That drives me nuts ... and it's dangerous!

Sent by Jeff | 2:59 PM | 2-21-2008

Regarding cell phone usage. The previous caller was right in pointing out one aspect of what makes public cell phone use annoying - i.e. hearing only one side of a conversation. I would add to that that people often seem to have more personal conversations on cell phones than they do with one another in person in public. This can be annoying in the same way that seeing someone spit or urinate in public is annoying - it's spewing out something that is personal into the public space.

Also, regarding the guy lamenting that people go for the cell phones right after a class or movie or whatever. I agree with this sentiment, and would add that the same goes for listening to music with headphones all the time, etc. This, to me, can be interpreted as a big "F*** You" to the general public by the person. Why? Because, though they are in public, taking up space, they choose to remove themselves from it; they are not available for any kind of interaction - like "Excuse, do have time?" or "do know when the next bus is due" etc.?

Sent by David | 2:59 PM | 2-21-2008

It drives me crazy when people don't pull over properly or even stop when an ambulance or fire truck is coming! I mean, there is someone's life at risk, would it really hurt you to take 15 seconds to move?

Sent by Anna | 3:00 PM | 2-21-2008

Regarding the co-worker that takes up 2 spaces, the other employees should just move their cars to park reeeeally close to it. Just enough for that person to open their door and hopefully get the hint.

Sent by JC | 3:01 PM | 2-21-2008

One of the more irritating things to me is something that has happened in our office. The people in the office take turns buying coffee. A new employee started and no one told him. He was drinking coffee all day long under the assumption that the company provided the coffee. Instead of going to him, they put a cup at the coffee pot tagged "coffee donations." why not just tell people? He is definitely smart enough to know that the cup wasn't there when he first started, huh?

Sent by liz smith | 3:01 PM | 2-21-2008

I have to comment on the caller who cuts over into the merge lane to block drivers in that lane. I hate to tell him, but HE is in the wrong. He is illegally blocking the flow of traffic. That lane is designed as a passing lane, and if people would actually follow it through and merge at the proper point, traffic would flow much more smoothly. People scurrying to change lanes the instant they see the "merge" signs actually slow up traffic.

Sent by Paul | 3:02 PM | 2-21-2008

My number one pet peeve would have to be people who don't use their turn signals when driving. It's not that hard to remember, and it should be instinctual when you're behind the wheel. Just another example of personal carelessness potentially putting others at risk.

San Francisco, CA

Sent by Evan Hayden | 3:03 PM | 2-21-2008

Turning left into the right lane or turning right into the left hand lane.

It irritates me so much when there are two or more lanes and I turn with someone who feels he must complete his turn by going into the far lane. These people need to go back to Drivers Education.

Sent by James Pease | 3:03 PM | 2-21-2008

Mine is a highway peeve. It's the people who see the "merge ahead" signs and start trying to merge right away. The proper place to do that is at the gore point. This way, no surprises. We know where the merge will happen, no random merging happening, to be followed at the gore by more merging.

Sent by Patricia Paris | 3:04 PM | 2-21-2008

I can't stand it when people in restaurants get up and don't push their chairs in, and it's in my way when I have to walk past. Ever since I had a toddler, a pet peeve has been people who leave trash and nasty stuff on the ground, like cigarette butts. My kids of course wanted to pick everything up and put it in their mouth. People who are out with a baby who is obviously desparately crying to be held, and they ignore the baby. I sometimes become so overwhelmed with the impulse to go pick up the baby myself that I have to get myself out of earshot. One more- People who walk in front of me when I am seated at a theater or church, and do so facing forward so that their rear end is in my face. So unpleasant and unmannerly!

Sent by Pam | 3:04 PM | 2-21-2008

The Gentleman who advised blocking the lane should know he could receive a citation for obtructing traffic, besides causing a possible road rage incident. As a retired police officer I can assure you that the two lanes are designed to be used and that at the end of those lanes traffic should take turns going into the single lane.

Sent by Larry Morris | 3:05 PM | 2-21-2008

Drivers who take up two lanes to prevent other drivers from driving past them are in fact the passive aggressive drivers who cause many road rage situations. The road commission indicates the point of the merger with cones and other equipment, a driver using his car to dictate to everyone else where they think the merger should start is both arrogant and aggressive and should not be encouraged. I would suggest he rethink his view of people cutting ahead as merely properly following the road rules. If everyone did this, we would all merge at the proper moment, rather than too soon and possibly resenting those who go past.

Sent by michael | 3:07 PM | 2-21-2008

That was totally wrong about blocking the vehicles of people who want to use the lanes legally available. Traffic studies show that it is more efficient to use the lanes available and to merge alternately at the pinch point. Anybody blocking other people is a smug jerk.

Sent by maynardgk | 3:07 PM | 2-21-2008

I just heard Amy say to tell the person in the cubical about their annoying habit. I have done that several times & I will never do it again because it aways back fires. One example was we had an office manager that aways called us 'MISS' & then your name & i hated it!! i tried to ignore it but then I'd be waiting for it.... so i very politely said. She was terribly offended & our relationship was never the same & when ever she said 'MISS' & then my name everyone just looked at each other & it got really uncomfortable. I also started to think I wish i hadn't said anythnig because now she had something on me to annoy me with!!!

Sent by annie | 3:08 PM | 2-21-2008

This comment is for you. You were just on "Talk of the Nation" commending the gentleman who called in about straddling a merge lane in a construction area on roadways; as he does not like people who drive down the merge lane until they HAVE to get over. There is a GOOD reason merge lanes exist! They are to slow people down to merge together at a certain point- NOT miles in advance! By every car lining up singe file LONG before necessary: roads, exits, other lanes etc in adjoining areas get backed up. It creates unnecessary traffic elsewhere and also endangers others. If construction crews need roads blocked off miles in advance then they would put the merges there.

Sent by Beth Tompkins | 3:10 PM | 2-21-2008

I have to take issue with the sentiment that Amy and the caller shared regarding dialogue after class or a movie. I can understand why it's a peeve; however, I have to disagree that folks in a class or movie are "preparing" during the last few minutes to shut others out. I do this myself and it's a simple reflex.

We are told to turn off our electronic devices at the beginning of the sessions and after four (for classes) to over ten years (for movies), turning on your electronic device is simple reflex. After all, during this time - you could have received an important call. As for smoking... well yes, that is most-definitely an automatic reflex. You better believe after being in a place where smoking is not allowed, lighting up is going to be the first reflex.

Again, I understand why Amy and the caller are bothered by this trend; however for the most part, it is definitely not premeditated.

Sent by James Downing | 3:17 PM | 2-21-2008

I view pet peeves as a personal challenge to overcome the slight annoyances in life that are a waste of precious time and energy. Rather than succumb to annoyance, I try empathize (perhaps they are using the cell phone in the bathroom in an attempt to not disturb others in the rest of the establishment). If we can see outside of ourselves, really it's not the other person who has a problem, its me, clearly because I'm the one who is upset. And who am I to ask others to change themselves to better suit my needs? Even if they do change, this solves one issue and the fact is, life itself can be very inconvenient at times, and I don't think the nature of life is going to change. So perhaps, if we want change we should start with the one thing we can control, ourselves, by replacing our futile struggle and resistance with acceptance, compassion, and a sense of humor!

Sent by Sara Ashurst | 3:20 PM | 2-21-2008

Thank you Marilyn Jones. That's actually the best advice really. I will try it. In fact, it could work with this peeve; people who "reply all" to emails and fill up inboxes. There is only 1 group of friends who do this, I'm on that list. I will get as much as 50 emails with the same subject, mostly 2 or 3 people having a silly back and forth conversation. I don't get it. No matter what the subject, this group will "reply all". It wastes my time having to delete them and I often miss important emails from the clutter! Don't want to block them out because they are friends. What's a polite way of telling them that it's really annoying? I know I can just "reply all"... but I don't want to be rude.

Sent by Cheryl | 3:21 PM | 2-21-2008

Yes - there are many individuals out there are are overly sensitive to others actions, however whatever happened to common courtesy? For the love - if someone is chewing their gum like a cow or not following common road rules - shouldn't they be corrected?

Sent by Karen | 4:26 PM | 2-21-2008

People who park as close to the door as possible. Walk ten car lengths people, we ALL need a little bit more exercise. You will drive to the gym to get fit, but park RIGHT IN FRONT?

Sent by Jim Allen | 7:19 PM | 2-21-2008

That moron talking about how to merge traffic was wrong. The most efficient to merge two lanes is for both to drive to the end and then to merge like a zipper.
For him to drive in two lanes just causes more traffic and is a useless provocation.

Sent by Chris | 5:33 AM | 2-22-2008

I am peeved by people who have lots of pet peeves. My husband is irritated by so many things. He gets mad when I forget to close cabinet doors, accidentally leave a door unlocked or a light on and often would remind me over and over again of all the things I do, including speaking anything ebonic-ish or with a texan accent, and many more things he considers "unintelligent" that I am unhappy and always aware that I am irritating him and people like him. I wish people could just "chill" and realize that I do silly things because there are more important issues in life like how much time I devote to my children and my husband, how kind I am, and how I spend my time on earth. Leaving a cabinet door open? Get over it, I am not intentionally hurting anyone. (even though my husband swears I am trying to get him to bump his head.)

Sent by sherry | 1:01 PM | 2-22-2008

I have looked EVERYWHERE and I have found no comments about speech. I am not a Wiz when it comes to the English language, but I do know that there are more intelligent words out there besides 'UM' and 'UH'. I now work with someone, whom I must communicate with throughout the entire day, who says these every other word. It drives me insane. Am I the only one who feels this way?

Sent by Anonymous and Aggravated | 7:31 PM | 2-27-2008

A couple of years ago, my brother-in-law bought a new SUV. I took a drive with him for the first time and when we arrived early at a busy parking lot, he parked between two spaces. I was shocked. I asked him how he would feel if he arrived late and saw someone parked in two spaces. His reasoning was that it was a new car and he didn't want anyone to park near him and dint his car. Not only that, he was so proud of how smart he was to do that. I was so surprise at his thinking. I always think we shouldn't do things that we wouldn't want others do to us. So now every time I saw someone parked in two spaces, I couldn't help but thinking about my brother-in-law. Sometimes I want to do things to their cars to tell them that selfishness sometimes may costs more than generosity, but of course, I didn't actually do it. At the end selfishness always win and they always drive away with their heads held high and smiles on their faces thinking they are smarter than the rest of us.

Sent by Johnny | 1:48 PM | 2-28-2008

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